brush by: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘brush by’ mean?

The idiom brush by means to pass close to someone or something without touching or stopping.

Idiom Explorer

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The idiom "brush off" is a commonly used phrase that is related to "brush by" in the sense that both idioms involve avoiding or dismissing something. When someone brushes off something, it means they are ignoring or disregarding it. This can be seen as a parallel to "brush by" because in both cases, there is a sense of narrowly avoiding or not engaging with something undesirable or unwanted.

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The idiom "brush down" is another expression that is connected to "brush by." To brush something down means to clean or tidy it by sweeping away dust, dirt, or other debris. This notion of cleaning or tidying up can be likened to the idea of "brushing by" a potentially harmful situation. In both cases, there is an action of clearing or moving away from something negative.

Similarly, the idiom "brush aside" is also related to "brush by." When you brush something aside, you are dismissing or disregarding it, often in a casual or nonchalant way. This can be similar to how someone might "brush by" a dangerous situation without giving it much thought or consideration. In both instances, there is a sense of not fully acknowledging or engaging with something undesirable.

Overall, the idioms "brush off," "brush down," and "brush aside" all share similarities with "brush by" in terms of the action or concept they convey. Each of these idioms involves avoiding or dismissing something, whether it be ignoring, tidying away, or simply disregarding. These related idioms further emphasize the idea of narrowly escaping or not engaging with something negative or unwanted.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "brush by" can be used in a sentence:

  1. As I was walking through the crowded street, I felt someone brush by me.
  2. The car brushed by the cyclist, narrowly avoiding a collision.
  3. She brushed by the team of reporters without stopping to answer any questions.

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